Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Kid Friendly Food

My kids hate when The Boss travels out of town for business. When we lived in South-Central PA, he was gone sometimes 3 or 4 nights a week from September to December or early January. It was open-enrollment season in the Human Resources department in which he worked, and his supervision and training was required at the various sites across the country that were owned by his company. I confess, I hated it too.

As we were still building our family and homeschooling in those years, I had to find ways to lighten the load on myself while I was alone with the three, and then four, little gangsters. And I had to find ways to make the long days and nights fun for us all. Like any self-respecting mom, I played with my food! I offered funky sandwiches, breakfast for dinner, and various assortments of frozen foods not normally approved for dinners with the whole Gang. Along the way, we discovered a couple of family favorites. This one is from one of those old church cookbooks, when I was once frantically searching the pantry for something, anything (!) that I could make without hoofing all four kids to the grocery store in the dinner rush. My kids would cheer and high-five each other when I announced this menu, as if I was preparing the coolest feast possible. What they didn't know (and please, don't tell my secret!) is that I loved it because it is so easy and inexpensive. They love it because it's simply delicious - and I made it sound like so much fun. And now, we all love it so much, we even share it with The Boss! And now, I have to quadruple the recipe for the HOOVER members of the Gang.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Pie
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. shredded cheese (any flavor you prefer)
In a small mixing bowl, combine egg, flour, salt, pepper, and half of the milk. Whisk or beat until smooth. Add remaining milk and beat till well-blended. Stir in 1/2 of the cheese. Pour into a well-sprayed 8" pie plate. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top and bake until melted and just starting to brown - about 2-4 minutes.

Variations to add in any combination that sound yummy:
  • thinly sliced deli meat of your choice
  • chopped pepperoni or cooked sausage
  • cooked and finely chopped hot dogs
  • cooked ground beef or ground turkey
  • finely chopped onions, peppers, or mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic or other Italian or Mexican seasonings
  • top with salsa, ketchup, mustard, or sour cream to taste
It's a fun dish to make with the kids, and can actually be a really healthy alternative to the pre-fried, frozen things like chicken nuggets, dino bites, and so on. Not that none of those ever appeared on our table . . . But after two or three dinners like that with 4 little ones 6 and under, I quickly got to the point where I couldn't look another bowl of fake mac n' cheese in the eye for weeks! Or at least till the next trip of The Boss's.

Do you have a special treat or meal that you offer to get you through nights like that? Something that you fall back on that is cheap and easy and feels like a real treat to the rest of your gang? I won't tell your secrets, I promise! And if you make this one, let me know what you think!


Holly said...

okay, since you asked.... ;)

the favorite around our house (that always gets smiles from everyone ~ even hubby) is Mexican Casserole.

brown 1 lb of ground beef (the good stuff works better) and season with taco seasoning.

at the same time, prepare 2 boxes Kraft Mac & Cheese (do NOT try to make this with Velveeta Shells & Cheese ~ it is disgusting!) according to box directions. (do this in a 5 or 6 quart pot)

when both are finished, mix the taco meat into the mac & cheese and stir until completely combined.

now, lastly, you can eat it just as is, or you can do what my mom does and pour the whole thing into a casserole dish and cover with shredded cheese and bake for 5 minutes.

either way, it's delicious!!!!!
enjoy!! :)

The Gang's All Here! said...

OMIGOSH, Holly! That sounds amazing! I can just picture it with red and green peppers and some diced tomatoes on the top when it's served! You've got my wheels spinning now, girl :)