Meals this week

My mantra lately for meals has often been, “Make extras.”

When we made tuna casserole, there were a few extra noodles in the package, so we cooked up the extra noodles.  Coupled with some extra chicken drumsticks from a couple days before that, I made chicken noodle soup.  I cooked the meat off the bones to make broth and then threw the meat in with some chopped baby carrots.  I didn’t even bother to season it.  I’ve had many nice lunches this week of the soup.

There are several more examples, but I won’t bore you to tears.  I know that I’ve already explained that it’s been fun lately getting creative in the kitchen.  I’m trying to utilize the random things in my cupboards that have been sitting a while.

Being that I’m now typing one-handed with Baby AND my laptop in my lap, I’ll post the recipe later that I wanted to share.  It’s called “smiley face casserole” and was on our supper table tonight and last night.  It reminds me of both tator tot casserole and an easy shepherd’s pie.  I think it’s a good one to keep trying until the kiddos get used to it, but for my daughter’s sake I’ll make it next time with ground turkey instead of ground beef (which she has a major aversion to, but likes turkey ok).

Here’s the recipe:

*1 26-oz bag of smiley face potato fries

*1 Tbs. canola oil

*8 oz. mushrooms, coursely chopped

*1 # ground beef or turkey

*1 large carrot, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup)

*1/2 tsp. garlic powder

*1/2 tsp. black pepper

* salt, to taste

*1 10 3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup

*10 3/4 oz. milk

*2 cups shredded cheddar

Preheat oven and bake fries according to the directions on the package.

Heat oil in saucepan over med.-high heat.  Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, about 5 min. or until soft.  Add meat, carrot, garlic powder and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.  Drain fat and season with salt.

Stir in soup, milk, and 1 1/2 cups of cheese.  Heat, stirring frequently, until simmering.  Remove from heat.

Set oven to 425.  Arrange 1/2 the fries in a 9 x 13 pan and top with meat mixture and the other half cup of cheese, plus the rest of the fries.  Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake 10 minutes or until bubbling.

Pretty easy, pretty kid-friendly, and pretty tasty!

(Taken from “The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley)

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