Sunday, September 8, 2013

Domestic Goddess, part 1

It's been rather dark around here for a while, with good cause, but I'm ready to talk about something different. Every once in a long while I get the urge to be a domestic goddess which, in my mind, means taking the time to find and make good recipes to feed my family.

I like to cook, but this household chore often goes to my wonderful husband since he is usually home first and can get dinner going before James and I get home. And a lot of recipes get ruled out since I’m not such a serious chef that I have lots of the tools and tricks around – I don’t have a stand mixer or a shredder or lots of other things that turn up in some recipes, so I don’t even attempt some things.

Just a few weeks ago, I was feeling inspired and decided to loot my dear friend’s website since I know she and her family eat well (i.e. healthy AND delicious). So, here is my take on recipes from What’s Cookin’ with the Johnstons!

This recipe has two key words that make my day – quick and easy. Yes! This means that this may not be a one-day wonder. And, being both a Southerner and a United Methodist, I love a good casserole.

2 cups uncooked macaroni (I used whole grain noodles)
1 lb. ground beef or turkey (I used turkey)
1 can tomato soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup French-fried onions
1 can diced Italian tomatoes, drained

Cook and drain macaroni according to instructions on box. Brown ground beef and green pepper; drain. Mix soups and meat in a large bowl. Add macaroni and stir. Place 1/2 mixture in a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cheese and onions. Top with remaining mixture and cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Top with rest of onions and bake 5-10 minutes more. 

This turned out beautifully, as you can see, and was very delicious. My son, who is a good eater but is sometimes hesitant to try new things, was asking for seconds. It may have had something to do with the French-fried onions...

Recipe #2: Tacozanga

(from Rachael Ray)

This one caught my eye with its fun name. Exploring further, I was excited to see it looked like something I could actually make.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 pounds ground turkey or ground sirloin
1 zucchini
2 carrots, peeled
1 onion, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons chili powder (I used 1½ tablespoons)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup beef stock
6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack (or other Mexican blend cheese)
1 bag of shredded lettuce
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat a large high sided skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add the meat and brown, 5 minutes. While meat browns, grate the zucchini and carrots with a box grater (or shredder attachment on the food processor, if you have one of those). Add the vegetables to the meat and shred in the onion and garlic. Season the meat with chili, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and cook 7 to 8 minutes more to soften vegetables. Stir in beef stock. Grease a 8 by 13-inch baking pan with vegetable oil. Layer in 3 overlapping flour tortillas and top with 1/3 meat, 1/3 cheese. Repeat the layers twice and bake 10 to 12 minutes to brown cheese. Top with lettuce and tomatoes, cut into squares and serve.

This also turned out beautifully and I love that there are hidden veggies for a bonus nutritional punch. I don’t think I had the right size pan, but I just did my best to overlap the tortillas, which is really the idea. In her recipe, Leanne adds scallions to the toppings for the finished dish, but since I don’t really associate that with Mexican food, I left it out. I also put salsa on the table to top when serving, but it had such a good flavor, we ended up not using it.

We sliced squares, then let each person add their own toppings, which was helpful with the little boy. This, too, was a hit for all ages in our house. The sensitive palate of the 3-year-old was also my motivation for halving the amount of chili powder. I thought it was very flavorful. My husband liked it so much he made it when his parents came to visit last week.

Coming next: this domestic goddess tackles the sweeter side!


  1. Jessica, if you like lemons and cookies (and who doesn't?) I have a quick recipe for you! Just let me know and I'll get it for you. If you come by our meeting tomorrow p.m. I will have a sample for you!

    1. I was so glad James and I ran into you at the door as you were bringing the cookies in. They were delicious! Can't wait to get that recipe. Thanks for sharing!


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