Last week, I brought dinner to a family in our Bible study who just had their first baby, little Parker. I tell you what–I loved every second I held that little boy in my arm! What a cutie :)
I wish I could say my ‘meal effort’ was completely sacrificial, but there were elements that were self-serving; namely the dessert and breakfast recipes I included! I realized bringing this meal would check all three of my ‘boxes:’
1. trying a new recipe
2. giving away most of it so I don’t have to eat it all
3. no pressure on Andrew to eat something he won’t want/doesn’t like
Can I just say I still can’t believe I have to deal with #3, but, such is my lot in life. I suppose his numerous other (actually important) qualities overcome his pickiness.
Anyway, so I immediately went to my trusty casserole–the only one I make–as their dinner entree. It’s super easy, super tasty and actually something I felt they might make again. It’s called ‘Kim’s Casserole,’ after my mom who made it for us once she joined the family. I think this might have been the only casserole we had growing up, and I’m kind of surprised SHE made it. I almost wonder if she made it up; I’ve never seen or heard of any other recipe like it.
1 box Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice (I use the quick-cooking version–why not??)
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup (grab the healthiest one you can find)
8-12 oz. ground sausage (I use Jimmy Dean Reduced Fat 12 oz. package)
1. Prepare rice and brown sausage.
2. Mix cooked rice, ground sausage and soup in a bowl. Transfer to a baking dish–8×8–and cook in a 350 degree oven until edges brown (about 20 minutes).
Please note that casserole MUST BE SERVED WITH CINNAMON APPLES.
They can be canned, frozen, homemade–I don’t care–but you absolutely must serve them with cinnamon apples. And preferably near/next to/on top of each other. You’ve just got to try a bite of casserole and a bite of apples together. Heavenly.
It’s easy enough to cook down some apple slices with a little cinnamon and brown sugar, but the canned variety works well, too:
The dietician in me wants to recommend a green vegetable as a side (I provided our friends with a steam-in-the-bag snap peas) but to be honest with you, I have absolutely no recollection of what other vegetable we had with this meal growing up. And to be even more honest, I can’t even really pinpoint one I feel ‘goes’ with this dish at all, but please, for the love, have something healthy with this.
And because I couldn’t pass up a chance to make cheesecake, (and I knew cheesecake it also our friends’ favorite dessert) I whipped up these babies to take along with dinner:
They are, hands down, the easiest cheesecakes you may ever make. (Unless, of course, you’re using a pre-made crust and a box of something…but then you aren’t really making anything, are you?)
I mean, when it’s this easy, why bother with a box?! Crush some grahams, mix them with a tiny bit of melted butter and bake in muffin tins. Mix up some reduced-fat cream cheese, greek yogurt, sugar and lemon zest, add in some plain gelatin and presto! After a few hours setting in the fridge, you have individual cheesecakes that are healthy and truly homemade.
And because I’m SUPER AMBITIOUS (and I read somewhere that bringing a new mom and dad breakfast is always a nice touch–the source of course recommended bagels), I decided to whip up some waffles they could toss in their freezer! Again, totally self-serving; I’d been wanting to try this Maple Oat Waffle recipe from my Good to the Grain cookbook for awhile now. AND Andrew made a fuss about not getting Eggo Waffles after seeing them in this couples’ freezer AND he made a fuss about me not making waffles often enough. (He’s just strangle-worthy sometimes, I tell you!)
So, I’ll just show HIM.
The recipe calls for oat flour and maple syrup and I may have nibbled on some of the edges just enough to verify that they are, indeed, wonderful.
It starts out with separated eggs, and you add the whipped whites to the rest of the mix in two parts:
Now fold them in gently:
Then add the other half of the whites and fold them in gently, too.
Bake in a waffle iron (I used the #2 setting) until the timer goes off and allow each waffle to cool completely on a rack (if not serving immediately). I went so far as to freeze them on a single layer in the freezer before packaging them up:
Six for them, six for us!
Do yourself a favor and make one of these–any of them–today!