Attention Family! I've been saying it for years, now I am preparing you for when it happens, I am retiring from cooking in less than 5 years. The only thing I will make is my morning coffee, and that is only because I am too lazy to get dressed and go out for it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Potato Soup

Just the thing to make the week before Christmas, when A is visiting her BFF (who just had her wisdom teeth out), MK has a cold, K and B are playing on the Wii and chillin, and Dad is working. Easy, satisfying, and cheap!

Potato Soup

6 to 8 russet potatoes
2 large carrots
1 14.5 ounce can chicken stock. low sodium
whole milk or evaporated milk
bay leaf
salt and pepper

Peel the potatoes and scrape the carrots. Chop into small pieces, add to large pot along with chicken stock and water to cover. Put the lid on it and bring to a boil. Add seasonings, look in your spices and see what else would be good - a little onion powder, garlic powder, tarragon. Wait to add salt at the very end, it is easy to over salt. Cook until the veggies are soft. Mash the veggies against the side of the pot with a big spoon, or lightly smash with a potato masher. Add some milk to make it creamy. If you have small amounts of shredded cheese in the fridge, add that too. Taste for seasonings, put out the crackers, serve the soup in mugs, and have Christmas cookies for dessert. Life is good.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Baked Ziti

This is so easy, its almost not worth writing down. I had never had baked ziti before I met your dad. It never caught my eye at an Italian restaurant, and nobody I knew made it. Now I consider it a comfort food. So here is your dad's version of baked ziti - meatless and cheesy.

Baked Ziti

1 pound box of ziti
1 large jar of spaghetti sauce
1 15 ounce container of Pollyo low-fat ricotta cheese
1 pound block of Pollyo mozzarella cheese
dried oregano and basil

Put on a large pot of water to boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon or so of salt to the water. When water boils, add pasta and stir. While waiting for water to boil, and pasta to cook, shred mozzarella cheese, unload dishwasher, set table. When pasta is done, drain and return to pot. Add ricotta cheese (Dad uses half, I use all), spaghetti sauce, and a good sprinkle of oregano and basil. Spray a large, flat casserole with cooking spray, add noodle mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, long enough for the casserole to start bubbling around the edges. Add the mozzarella cheese (all or part, your choice) and cook until the cheese is melty and gooey. While the ziti is in the oven, wash the pot, make a simple salad, slice some bread, and put a trivet or wooden cutting board on the table. Take the ziti from the oven, set it on the table, and you have a lovely dinner and an almost clean kitchen.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Easy Friday Night Supper

This meal is proof that everybody can cook at least one supper, nothing fancy, but really good.

Baked Chicken

Buy split chicken breasts, with bones and skin attached! Place in large baking dish, skin side up. Sprinkle with Montreal Chicken Seasoning. Put in oven set at 350 degrees. Bake for one hour, add an additional 15 minutes if chicken breasts are really large. Done!

Baked Vegetables

Wash 3 medium zucchini, and two fist-sized tomatoes. Peel a large sweet onion. Spray a casserole pan with cooking spray. Slice all the vegetables into 1/4" slices. Layer half the zucchini in the casserole dish. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Layer half the onions on top of the zucchini. Repeat the layers of zucchini, salt and pepper, and onions. Top with the slices of tomato. Put in the oven at 350 degrees along side the chicken. Bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, Parmesan, cheddar, blends, whatever you have on hand. Bake for 5 more minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Serve with a nice loaf of bread and some butter. If you want, bake some sweet potatoes or russet potatoes to serve instead of bread. Set the table, pour the ice tea, and gather around the table for a lovely, easy, home cooked dinner.