Very Little Money and a Lot of People to Feed

enchilada casserole
enchilada casserole
deep dish or regular pie size
deep dish or regular pie size

Quick - Tasty - Health Food Dishes

With the fast food mentality, fast food restaurants, and processed and frozen microwavable meals that are available for the family these days, it is so easy to forget, or never learn for that matter, to cook good old fashion food from scratch.  That's right, you can cook at home and start with the real thing, and it really isn't that hard at all.

Here are a few of my best and favorite recipes that are in my home written cook book, and if you are interested in getting the rest of them, let me know and I will actually hand write you one for your home, (for a small fee of course).

Here is one of my families favorite dishes, and it takes a whole 15 minutes to make, tops.  Begin with one and a half to two pounds of lean hamburger and brown it with an onion chopped up in it.  No seasoning needed.  Set it aside.

Take a 9 X 13 cake pan, and cover the bottom of it with green enchilada sauce from a can (large).  Take corn tortillas and place six of them on top of the sauce on the bottom of the pan.  Next we will be layering the ingredients, beginning with the meat mix.  Cover with six tortillas, and cover with green enchilada sauce.  Next a layer of your favorite kind of cheese, but I prefer a white cheese in this.  Again, tortillas, and the sauce.  Next with the meat, tortillas, sauce, and end the layering process with a tortilla, sauce and cheese on top.  If you have any sauce left in the can, pour it around the sides of the pan, or else the casserole will be dry.  This is called my enchilada pan casserole.  Bake this at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese on top is melted and casserole is maybe barely looking browned.  Cool for about 3 to 5 minutes and serve.  Kids and adults alike love this stuff. 

Another family favorite is my chicken stew.  Here are the ingredients you will need for this-- 2-4 boned skinless chicken breasts, 4 to 6 carrots, 1 onion, 4-6 celery stalks, 2 to 3 zucchini squash, and either 3-4 potatoes or 1 cup long grain rice.  Three cubes of chicken bullion.

In a large soup pot begin cooking the onion, chicken bullion cubes, chopped large, and the chicken breasts, cubed to the size of your liking, in about 6-8 cups of water.  Cut and and the ingredients in the order I have listed here, for they take various cook times to finish at the same time.  Cut the celery and carrots in a french cut manner, or just chopped if you like.   Allow this to cook for about 15 minutes, then finish adding the rest of the ingredients.  Do not cut the potatoes into too small of pieces or they will disappear in the stew.  Cut them into pieces about  two inches square, or add the long grain rice.  Long grain rice stays firmer than any other kind and instant rice turns mushy and vanishes.  Please note that because of the differences in size of pans and stoves and amount of flame, you may or may not need to add a little water during the cooking process.  Cook this for about another 20-30 minutes on a medium to medium low fire.  You can add any other kind of vegetables that you like to this stew. 

When all the vegetables are cooked, you can thicken the juice in the stew simply by taking a two cup measuring cup, putting one cup of either water or milk cold, and add by the spoonful, about 4 tablespoons of corn starch, mixing it until it is smooth and there are no lumps.  While stew is still cooking over low flame, add this corn starch mixture, slowly stirring the stew constantly the whole time.  Cook over low flame for about another 2 minutes, remove and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.  As it stands and cools it will continue to thicken.  You might want to add a little salt and pepper to taste, but I do not.  This stew is really a healthy meal for the family.

Another all time family favorite is something I call Shepard pie.  You can make it with any kind of meat you like, from chicken cubed and cooked, to hamburger or  even leftover roast.  In a large pan cook meat, one onion, several celery sticks, a few carrots and when this is cooked so that the carrots are almost soft enough to eat, add a couple of cans of your favorite kind of canned vegetables, draining liquid off first.  Add a large can of cream of mushroom soup and set aside

Take out of freezer two pie crusts and allow to sit, while you make a med size pan of instant mashed potatoes, adding a couple of spoonfuls of butter to them mixing in when they are done.  Get the meat mixture and pour into pie shells, half into each.  Spoon the mashed potatoes on top of this, evenly as you will be making this the top of the pie.  Cook in oven at 350 until the edges of the pie crusts are nicely brown.  Bring out to top of stove and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. 

If you like pot pies, you can get four pie crusts and instead of the mashed potatoes, put a pie crust on top and crimp around the edges, poking a few holes on top before cooking to allow juices to flow.  Again, remove when crusts are a nice brown color around the edges.  This is the best meat and vegetable pie you will ever eat.  No seasoning is needed with this recipe.

Try these dishes out on your family, and if you all enjoy them, I have more I can share with you.  It is far better and healthier to eat this kind of food than the processed or frozen stuff many people eat.  Cooking from fresh is a taste treat.  Enjoy and let me know how it turns out.

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