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Quick dinner idea: Meatball Sandwich Casserole

Categories: Cooking, Entertaining, Lunches, Meal Planning, Uncategorized, recipes, summer living

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The holidays can be a crazy time of year with shopping to be done, preparing for guests and getting kids ready for exams. We’ve been out late a lot during the week lately, and traveling on the weekends, so there’s not been a lot of time to fix dinner. Since it seems my family insists on eating every night, I figured I should try to do something about feeding them.

As a matter of fact, I even had most of these things in the pantry and fridge already, so this was easy.

Meatball Sandwich Casserole

Slices (about 1/4 inch thick) baguette French bread(enough to cover a casserole dish)
olive or vegetable oil to brush on bread

1-2 pounds (depends on what size dish you’re using) frozen cooked Italian-style or regular meatballs, thawed. Works best if they are smaller, bite-sized meatballs.
1 bag frozen chopped onions thawed and drained (I sauteed mine, but I’m sure it’s fine without)
NOTE: you’re supposed to use the onions and green pepper mix to make it like an authentic meatball sandwich, but no one here but me likes green peppers.
1 1/2 cups pasta sauce (I used a tomato-basil one)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Heat oven to 350°F. Brush 1 side of each bread slice with oil.
  • Line the bottom and side of a casserole dish with bread, oil side up and slightly overlapping slices.

  • Bake 5 to 10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.
  • In large bowl,  mix meatballs, onion (and bell pepper), and pasta sauce.
  • Spoon meatball mixture into crust; and bake uncovered 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated in center.

  • Sprinkle with cheese; bake 5 to 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

It was a hit with everyone, and it’s been just as good the next day!

Appetizers on the run

Categories: Holiday Entertaining, Lunches, Organization, side dishes

11 Comments

Hi, I’m Elizabeth, better known as Busy Mom around the Internet, and it’s nice to meet you! Chris is a tough act to follow here, but I’m really excited to be writing for Ordering Disorder. I’m married and have 3 kids, and I work full-time as a nurse, so I always appreciate hearing ways you create order in your life and I hope you’ll join in all our discussions here.

Enough of that, let’s get started!

My husband is a teacher, and I also tend to hang around teachers, and the warm weather and their relaxed summer schedules inspire parties and other evening gatherings.  I love to get together with friends, but my schedule in the summer is the same as it always is, so I sometimes find myself rushing to parties after work and changing clothes along the way so I don’t miss out on anything.

Like any good guest, I always volunteer to “bring something”. Now, I love appetizers, and when I offer, I truly mean it. But somehow, I never actually get around to planning ahead for what I’m going to bring, and I inevitably tell myself, “I’ll just pick up something after work”.

While that’s a good enough plan on the surface, more often than not, I end up wandering in circles in the store looking for “something” I can walk out with that doesn’t have to be prepared, and is presentable for a gathering.

My fallback appetizer, (mighty tasty, though not exactly revolutionary), is the tried and true Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly:

1 8oz. block of softened cream cheese
1 jar of pepper jelly (red or green, your preference)

Spread the jelly over the cream cheese and serve with crackers of some sort (I like to use Wheat Thins)

Gather those ingredients, buy a fancy disposable plate or tray in the baking section, and you’re good to go straight from the store to the party.

Action shot (or proof you can go straight from the store to the party):

Appetizer on the run

Help me out, though. I need something new to add to my repertoire of, “Appetizers You Can Prepare in the Car” because, let’s face it, that won’t be the last time I run by the store after work to find something party-worthy.

Do you have a standby appetizer that you can pick up on the way to the party that looks like you made an effort, but is something other than chips and salsa from the gas station?

Do share!

Chicken Salad with Grapes

Categories: Cooking, Food, Lunches, summer living

4 Comments

If you have been reading here for any legnth of time, you know that I am all about easy recipes. I do not have a whole lot of patience when it comes to preparing food. My children inhale their food so quickly that I do not think it even has time to touch their tastebuds.

Also, it is now summer and we are often out of the house for the day. I don’t really feel like making big meals every single day. Sandwiches are a working mother’s friend, whether you are working in the home or out.

I had bought some rotisserie chickens from the grocery store for dinner one night. There wasn’t enough left to make a full meal for my family so I decided to make chicken salad. It was fabulous. The kids all loved it. It was da bomb. Did I just age myself terribly with that or what? I don’t even know where it came from, some back cobwebby corner of my brain, I guess.

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You will need:

2 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1 small minced onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup mayonaisse

Step One:
Except for the grapes. Chop all of your ingredients up and toss in the bowl.

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Step Two:

Add the mayonaisse, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Stir well.

Step Three:

Add the grapes and gently stir to mix.

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Step Four:

Serve on some lightly toasted bread. The bread in the photo is gluten free bread. It is Udi’s brand and so good it tastes just like real bread. And those are salt and vinegar chips. You don’t have to serve it with those, but why not? They just make everything taste better.

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And best of all, you don’t have to heat the kitchen all up.

Chicken Hummus Wraps

Categories: Cooking, Food, Lunches, summer living

4 Comments

Here is a perfect recipe for you to make with some of that extra chicken you grilled last week and then put into the freezer. Remember? Did you do that?

Even if you didn’t, you can grill yourself up some chicken breasts for this so-easy-it-shouldn’t-even-be-called-a-recipe recipe.

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No Cook Recipe - Yogurt Parfait

Categories: Cooking, Food, Lunches, side dishes, summer living

6 Comments

Everyone loves a parfait. Isn’t that what Donkey says in the Shrek movie? And just think, you can use the movie tie in to actually get your kids to eat the healthy yogurt parfait.

But what exactly is a parfait?

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Behold, the layered goodness that is the parfait.
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Summer meal planning - five tips for making it easy

Categories: Cooking, Crockpot, Food, Lunches, Meal Planning, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized, side dishes, summer living

22 Comments

Nataly emailed me last week asking if I had any no cook recipes in my repertoire and could I pretty please share them.

My first thought was, “Well, I can pour a mean bowl of cereal!” Because who among us doesn’t try to convince our children that it was THEIR idea to have a bowl of cereal for dinner every now and then.

But I got thinking about summer schedules and the heat and how most of us want to be out enjoying the weather, not tied to our hot stoves once we get home from work. So I thought I would offer up some tips to making summer cooking easier.
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Quick and Easy: Chicken Salad Recipe

Categories: Cooking, Food, Lunches, summer living

4 Comments

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In the warmer weather I am always on the look out for things to make for dinner which don’t require: a) lots of time spent in the kitchen, b) slaving away over a hot stove, and c) running out to the grocery store. Basically recipes that allow be to make something yummy in spite of my over all laziness.
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Chicken and Rice with Black Bean Salsa

Categories: Cooking, Food, Lunches

14 Comments

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I have posted this recipe in a different incarnation by cooking it all in the crockpot. Even though the ingredients are essentially the same, the result is a completely different meal. The chicken cooked in a crockpot can be shredded and used in tortilla shells or eaten with chips. The chicken in this recipe stays whole.  In grilling weather you can also put these ingredients in tin foil packets and cook it on the grill.

You will need:

Chicken: breast or legs, bone in or out
Salsa or picante sauce
2 cans of Black beans
Shredded cheese

First, pour your salsa or picante sauce into the bottom of your baking dish. How ever much you need. I wanted there to be extra so I could mix it in with the brown rice I was also cooking and have a spicy mexican rice to go along with the chicken.

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Then I fillet the chicken breast, like I always do, to cut down on the cook time and the chances of the breasts getting dried out on the outside, yet still being raw on the inside.

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Lay them on top of the salsa.

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Put it in the oven at 350 for 25 minutes.

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After 25 minutes, remove from the oven and pour your black beans in the baking dish. Pop it back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Don’t you love my pot holders?  One of my children went through a phase where he could not make enough of these.  He made them constantly .  And being ever so helpful he threw away all the other pot holders and mitts that we owned.

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Take it out again and sprinkle the top with shredded cheese. Pop it back in the oven for 2 minutes or until the cheese melts. You can see my side of the dish over there on the left with no cheese. It is delicious without it.

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Serve it over brown rice.

Fun Food: Hot Dog Octopi and Macaroni and Cheese

Categories: Food, Lunches

26 Comments

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Aren’t they cute? I like to call them Hot-opuses. Which is also a cute name. Isn’t it?

Unless you have a three year old who butchers the pronunciation of things. Because then he will be shouting, “I wuv hot pu$$ies” the entire time you are eating dinner. And while it is very funny, you really don’t want to have to explain to the rest of your children why you are laughing. Trust me.
This is a very simple recipe. You will need:

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2 lbs of shell pasta
1 1/3 cups of milk
1/2 cup butter
16 oz mild cheddar cheese
16 oz of sharp cheddar

You can use whatever kind of cheese you like. I picked these two cheeses because they are mild and my children like them.
Salt, to taste
Hot dogs

This feeds 10 people. If you have less than ten people to feed. Half the recipe

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You want to grate your cheese so that it will melt easily. I have this antique cheese grater that I love. As I use it I like to think about the people who used it before I found it. What were they making? Did they grate the skin off of their knuckles like I frequently do? Did they say, “Mmmm, extra flavor!” like I do? Did they happily cast it aside when more modern inventions came along and made the task easier?

Using the grater is a lot of work. You may even need a snack to help you get through it.

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And as always many hands make light work.

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Of course you could buy your cheese already grated at the store. But then what will you do with yourself while your pasta is boiling away?
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Next you want to grease your casserole dish with your butter. Really slather it on. Neatness does not count in this particular step of the recipe. That will come later.

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Toss the rest of the stick of butter into the pot with your already cooked and drained pasta shells. Stir it up so that it melts and coats the pasta.

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Next add your grated cheese.

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A little at a time so that you can stir it up evenly.

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Pour it all into your casserole dish.

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Measure out your 1 1/3 cup of milk.

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Pour it all over the pasta. Cover with aluminum foil and put into a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. If you would like the macaroni on the top to get crunchy, remove the aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. My children do not like the crunchy pasta.

Ten minutes before the macaroni is done, prep the hot dogs.

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You want to cut the eight “legs” before you boil them. Hold the hot dog and about one inch from the top of the hot dog slice in half lengthwise. Turn the hot dog a quarter turn and repeat the process. Now is the time for your perfectionist qualities to come out. Each of those four individual legs needs to be cut in half. Because octopi have 8 legs.

My husband said, “Isn’t four enough?” and then proceeded to chop one of the legs off by mistake. So I had to take over the leg cutting lest we have a whole slew of octopus amputees.

You can feel good about feeding your children hot dogs when you prepare them this way. Something about the length of time it takes you to prepare food makes it instantly more nutritious. No really. I swear.

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Then put them in your shallow pan of water to cook. They do look like weird octopi now don’t they?

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The “legs” will curl up. My 3 year old son saw them at this point and yelled, “They are holding hands!”

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Remove macaroni from oven. You will want to scoop it into the bowl and set the hot-opus in top. If I had peas I would have added some to the top of the bowl at this point. But I didn’t.

Add eyes to the hot-opus with mustard or ketchup.

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And so we have the perfect kid friendly meal, with nary a vegetable to be found.

Did They Eat It? Potato Soup Edition.

Categories: Cooking, Did They Eat It?, Food, Lunches, Meal Planning

8 Comments

Yesterday was a busy day and not particularly my favorite day ever. I’m trying to approach bad days like the British from now on. Instead of having anxiety attacks and debating throwing myself from a bridge I am instead understating the badness of things. The day? It was? Regrettable.

I decided to make this Potato Cheddar and Bacon soup from the Kraft.com website.  A few weeks ago some friends mentioned the Kraft website as a place they find quick to make and serve dinners. That’s what I want on a busy Monday so the soup seemed like a good trial.
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