Garlic, ginger, soy sauce, portabello mushrooms, snap peas, carrots, rice, jasmine rice, all of our favorite things.
We're stuck inside for the Corona virus, just like everyone else. Honestly, we were hoping for zombie apocalypse, so staying inside and cooking a family meal was on our list of things to do anyways. Here are a few ideas of things to make for your family while you're stuck inside.
Yakimeshi fried rice, teppanyaki style, doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be yummy.
Beef ramen can be as simple as one of those packages of dried noodles from the store, with some pre-sliced roast beef heated through in the broth. Scrumptious.
Chinese chicken soup is a regular for our family. Ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil set this soup apart. Here, made with carrots and haricot vert green beans.
Teriyaki chicken with wasabi mayonnaise, served with crispy fried tofu and garnished with sweet Vidalia onion dressing.
Loaded potato sushi, like loaded potato skins, but rolled up and served on a nice pretty plate,
Loaded chicken potato sushi, here pictured as a pair.
Beef lo mein with ground beef stir fried with ripe Fresno peppers. So spicy! So amazing.
Teriyaki rice bowl with cabbage, mushrooms, green onions, teriyaki chicken, and jasmine rice.
Linguini Alfredo is one of our favorite things.
We eat pasta. It's one of those happy full belly kind of meals.that the whole family adores, Pasta scales up quite nicely for large family dinners, and we feed 10 people at a time here. Everyone crowds the table for dinner at our house, because we eat very, very well.
One of the most important things you can do is learn to cook and provide nourishment for you and your family. We cook from scratch all the time and make sauces from scratch as a manner of rote. Scratch cooking is one of the best ways to control your food budget, sodium intake, taste, portions However, meal planning also includes lots of our favorite food brands items from the store. We keep some bottled sauces in the pantry for when time is an issue, or when one of the kiddos is in charge of meal preparation. Sometimes those bottled sauces need a few extra spices and that's okay too. We keep an extensive spice collection. We're in the U.S., so McCormick is probably our favorite bottled spice brand, but we buy store brands. I still can't figure out for the life of me how plain salt or sugar is supposed to be different with extra marketing built into the price. Anyway, here's some noodles we had for dinner.
Spaghetti in vodka sauce is one of those meals that I always associate with an actual chef in the kitchen. Simple, Divine, Scrumptious.
Chicken and egg noodles always ends in empty bowls.. This meal was fun because it's two different meals.that were combined in a scratch sauce that was thickened using the remaining fresh biscuits we had from breakfast. We quite literally cleared out leftovers to make this. The noodles were added at the very end to soak up the remaining liquid from the sauce.
Cheese Ravioli Puttanesca is one of our meals that the kiddos get really excited about. We love scratch raviolis, but no one has time for that outside of showing off for Sunday dinner. We buy them from the frozen section of the grocery store. The scratch sauce here is simple, yet elegant, and was a vibrant contrast to the creaminess of the cheese filling.
Beef and red bell pepper stroganoff is our twist on a classic dish. Ground beef, noodles, sour cream, peas and carrots, and a quick beef sauce is about as simple as it gets around here.
Black Forest ham and cavatappi al burro means noodles in garlic butter. Boil up some noodles, add butter, salt, and pepper, pre-sliced sandwich meat, and some veggies to make a quick meal that everyone here loves.
Kids mac and cheese, because we can make scratch mac and cheese over here. Sliced hot dogs are leftovers from a different meal and were added with the veggies to heat through once the mac and cheese was ready. Eat your leftovers.
Spaghetti marinara, it's spaghetti. I grew up making red sauce. I can make a chunky tomato pan sauce on the fly, but marinara takes two hours to make. The secret to getting out of the kitchen is, repeat after me, Bertolli.
Fettucini Alfredo/Carbonara, I don't know. I put eggs in things. Sometimes I make the recipe. Most of the time I whip up what I'm hungry for. This time, I wanted eggs in my Alfredo/carbonara.that I grew up eating. My Bronx Italian stepdad would make this sauce when I was a kiddo that isn't Alfredo or carbonara. This is milk, not cream. As a kid, sometimes there would be cottage cheese in it, which I was told later might be influenced by Polish food. Whatever. It's yummy, and that's all that matters.
Chili mac, because I'm from Texas, and chili is part of our diet. We have exposed the children to the spice of chili from a young age, because it is in so many of our meals. Sour cream is the magic remedy if your kiddo thinks chili is too spicy. Add it to any meal, or just eat a spoonful if you ever chew on a big old jalapeno pepper and instantly regret it.
Chicken carbonara, the actual sauce version without milk or cream, pan fried chicken, eggs, parmesan cheese, pepper, salt, and butter. Here, it is served with elbows in one of the kiddos' bowls.
Beef ravioli Florentine is a great way to get your leafy greens. Eat your veggies.
Linguini pancetta chicken in garlic cream sauce. It was so hard not to eat the sauce while it was cooking.
Baked spaghetti is how to eat leftovers. Cold spaghetti from the previous day was pressed into a glass baking dish with a little extra sauce, topped with grated mozzarella cheese, and baked at 350 F/ 175 C until bubbly and heated through.
Birria mac and cheese, if you know how to make birria, then I know for sure that you saved every last piece of it that wasn't eaten. Here, I added a chunk of birria to a box of mac and cheese for lunch.one day.
Spicy Italian sausage and rotini aglio e olio with broccoli, olive oil, roasted garlic, and garnished withg parmesan cheese.
Spinach Bacon Frittata is another leftover reuse idea. Cold spaghetti, leftover bacon, a can of spinach, mozzarella, plus whatever extras you want, in a big iron skillet, Bake at 350F/175C until cooked through.
Brisket mac and cheese is another example of adding leftover meat to a fresh meal, even if it is a box of mac and cheese.
Fettucini Alfredo with roasted ham is more leftover ideas. Don't waste food. Refigerate it and eat it again, or make it into something else. Also, a splash of milk helps if you ever reheat Alfredo-sauced noodles in the microwave.
Beef rigatoni in tomato cream is an example of a quick chunky tomato, onion, and garlic pan sauce made in the pan that beef is browned in. Pretty rare that we eat rigatoni. It's such a big beautiful noodle, but should be handled in slightly smaller batches than in which we cook or you run the risk of breaking the tubes.
There is one problem that all families face. What's for dinner? This is an endless request from our family of 3 adults and seven kiddos with one more on the way at the time of writing. Our cooking needs are slightly unique because of the amount of food that we prepare, but "something different for dinner" is a constant issue that everyone faces. Man, we love pizza at our house, but one cannot live without variety. Well, maybe pizza is a bad example. Anyway, here's some of the many types of pizza I made for the family.
I won't bother you with recipes, because you can look those up all over the internet, and no one follows directions anyways. Just look at any internet recipe comment section and you'll see people giving their own tweaks to the page's recipe. Feel free to put your favorite recipe and where you found it in the comments. Everyone has a favorite recipe for the things you love, which is as it should be.
What follows is a compilation of meals that our family shared. Hopefully you will be able to use these ideas so that you never hear the words, "Aw, pizza again?"
Pizza dough is great. It's like a new morning. You could do just about anything with one of these. I'm not sure what my recipe is anymore. I proof a bowl of sugar and yeast in warm water. I pour an appropriate amount of oil into it, I don't know, that much, maybe more later if it doesn't feel right. I put a bunch of flour and a palm full of salt into a big sauce pot and add the liquids to it. Mostly, making dough for me is a textural thing. I knead and add flour or even more oil until it feels right. Boy, you sure have to make a lot of dough before you get what "feels right" even means, but once you understand, it becomes like this glorious breakthrough and your friends and family start clamoring for you to make fresh bread all the time. There are few things in life better than to make a bunch of bread to share and see all the smiles and happiness it brings.
Pepperoni double cheese pizza with tangy tomato sauce on hand tossed fresh pizza dough. This a regular favorite of the family. Ring of pepperoni around the edge acts as a guide for us in cutting out slices for the kiddos.
Pepperoni and tapenade pizza on hand-stretched dough is a complete mind-melt. This pizza was kicked up a couple steps with the addition of a zesty tapenade of kalamate olives, non pareil capers, lemon juice, basil and garlic. If you already like, or ever want to try anchovies, this is the pizza to do that with. If you family is a little hesitant about it, just grind up the anchovies like I did here so that they're part of the tomato sauce rather than big pieces. Anchovies, it's what makes Caeser salad so nom.
Spiral cut ham and mozzarella on a thick crust with a ranch-style white sauce. Yes, I said ranch. Use Hidden Valley if you don't want to put a sauce together, because holy cow this one was good!
Hand stretched pizza dough topped with Alfredo sauce and loads of mozzarella make for non-stop eating. I remember my head reeling while eating this. It was like dipping a cheese bread stick into the extra sauce in a bowl of fettucini Alfredo.
Allie: "Dad, can you make a hot dog pizza?" Me: "Well, of course I can." First I died a little inside, but then I whipped up this tater tot, cheddar cheese, and hot dog pizza topped with good old ketchup and mustard. Technically, not a pizza. Didn't matter, because the kiddos devoured this tray of food.
Thick crust pepperoni and white mushroom pizza with tangy tomato sauce. Crisp pepperoni is one of those things I simply adore. Did you know that you can pan fry pepperoni, crumble it up, and use it to top your spaghetti for pasta?
Smoked turkey barbecue pizza with haricot vert green beans, fresh red onions, and hickory barbecue sauce with mozzarella cheese. This just felt good to eat.
Double pepperoni pizza with mozzarella and tangy tomato sauce on hand tossed dough. This is what pizza means to our family and is cooked repeatedly.
Barbecue ham and portabella mushrooms with mozzarella cheese and a spicy Texas-style barbecue sauce. This one smelled amazing.
Rough cut red bell peppers, non pareil capers, piles of mozzarella cheese, on hand formed garlic foccacia bread with a smattering of tangy tomato sauce. We're not vegetarian, but these pizzas were a legit meat-free pizza option that the kiddos adored.
Totino's Pizza Rolls served with ranch and parmesan cheese on Royal Albert "Blossom Time" porcelain served. Yes, I bought the bag and poured it out on a cookie sheet. No, I don't have a problem with that. Everyone gets busy and it's okay to buy prepared food. If it's really that important to you, serve it on fine porcelain. Grandma gets tickled every time we pull out the china to serve her something as simple as a peanut butter sandwich. Just enjoy eating.
This is one of the calzones we made for a pizza party. You can see the dots from the cookie sheet still on the crust. I love the way the dough toasted down into the X marks.
Fresh calzone stuffed with pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage, a touch of marinara that I made for a different pasta meal the previous day, and mozzarella cheese.
Pizza party left overs of hand tossed cheese pizza, thin crust pepperoni pizza, deep dish cheese pizza, and calzone. When it's not the summer in the Southern California desert, I'll cook off up to 10 pizzas at a time and put them in the freezer for the kiddos. It's a family friendly activity that the whole family loves. Plus it helps when Mom and Dad have to go run errands and Grandma is watching the kiddos. Just pop them back in the oven at 350 degrees Farenheit or 175 degrees Celsius, and let them warm until the cheese is bubbling again. The microwave works, but ugh! Microwaves can destroy food quickly, leaving a floppy crust and petrified cheese. You might as well be taking your family to Chiliapplecheddabee's if microwaved and deep fried food is what you're after. Stay home. Cook something. Be a family.