Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weekend Cooking 1/26

Each weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  This is perfect for me since I love food and cooking almost as much as I love books!

We had a hectic week here, with a Monday holiday (which we spent driving home from a weekend trip), two more snow days, and knee surgery #4 for my 16-year old son. So, we had several meals of left-overs and take-out this week (my son always requests a Panera Italian Combo and a chocolate croissant after his surgery!).

But, I did do a bit of cooking. When we returned home on Monday, I made a double batch of our favorite Red Beans & Rice, at the request of my 19-year old son who is home from college. This is our idea of comfort food, and the left-overs provided us with another dinner plus several, we don't ever get sick of it!

When my younger son got home from the hospital, I made my own version of Beef Macaroni (see recipe below), figuring he could use some comfort food - and something nutritious after that nasty hospital food. I have never understood why hospitals feed sick people such horrible, unhealthy food. Dinner on Thursday at the hospital was grilled cheese (processed American on white bread, of course) with French fries. Beef Macaroni is a bit healthier than the classic, with lots of veggies. And I forgot to take a picture of it!

And last night, we went for an easy dinner recipe from Cooking Light, Chicken with Paprika and Potatoes. It uses chicken thighs and a tasty spice rub with potatoes, onion, and bell pepper all in one pan (we love easy clean-up). Everyone likes this one - no left-overs!

Hope you have enjoyed a week of good cooking and delicious food!

Beef Macaroni
(Serves 6)
A low-fat, healthy version of a family classic – perfect comfort food!

1 1/2 cups whole grain elbow macaroni
Cooking spray plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef (I like Laura’s organic)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped
5-8 large mushrooms, chopped
2 teaspoons crushed or diced garlic
40 oz. (2 16 oz. cans plus 1 8 oz. can) tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese (optional)

Cook macaroni in saucepan of boiling water, per instructions on box. Drain when finished.

Sauté ground beef in cooking spray and oil over medium-high heat in large pot (like a Dutch oven) until crumbled and mostly cooked through. Add onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms and continue cooking over medium-high heat until soft. Add garlic toward end of sauté. 

Add all other ingredients (except macaroni and cheese) and stir. Simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

Add macaroni and cheese (or if you have some family members who are dairy-intolerant like we do, you can leave the cheese out and allow people who want it to add it at the table instead). Stir well and continue to simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes.

Serve with grated cheese on the side, if you didn’t add it already.

NOTE: This version of Beef Macaroni has plenty of veggies. If you have picky eaters, use a red bell pepper (it doesn’t show up as well in the red tomato sauce) and chop the mushrooms up very small. My kids have no idea this dinner has mushrooms in it!

© Suzan L. Jackson 2014
(Do not reprint or publish without written permission from the author)

1 comment:

  1. This does sound like a better beef and mac dish. And, yes, what's with hospital food?? I'll never understand that.