My Family Rocks! Sunday: Meals That Stretch and Comfort

In this post: 14 meals that stretch and double as comfort food.  There’s also a Fall twist on one of my favorites! Yum! Come sit at my table :). PS: The kitty is not one of those meals! LOL I just didn’t have food pics.

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Hello dear ones! I hope you are well. It’s been fairly quiet at the Dover household. We’re praying this government shutdown ends soon. We rely completely on the VA for pay but I guess in a way that’s not true. Even if we don’t get paid, God will take care of us. So really we rely completely on God for pay etc.  Our chins are up and our God is in control.

Above you can see a pic of our cute ferocious  kitty, Chester. I love taking Fall pictures with him. He looks adorable with orange. I tried to copy the picture below that I saw in a magazine. Well, I didn’t quite manage it. The above pic is the best we got. Chris had to hold Chester and then quickly let go.  Chester jumped out several times! Oh, well…

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On to the recipes! Here are my favorite comfort meals that stretch. A family of three can eat on these for two to three days. A larger family can make it stretch by adding salad and bread.  These meals are fairly cheap to make.

  • Chicken and Dumplings~ So I take a shortcut with this recipe but it works for my busy family.

Ingredients: a package of Chicken breasts, salt, pepper, cream of celery or chicken, a can of buttery biscuits, and water.

Directions:  Boil the chicken breasts in a large pot of water. Add salt and pepper to your liking.  Once the chicken is cooked through, take it out of the water (do not pour out all the water. It will now be your chicken broth! You can pour out a little bit depending on how soupy you want your meal). Cut the chicken into tiny pieces. Put the chicken back into the broth and add cream of celery/chicken.  Take out your can of biscuits and tear the biscuits into four pieces each (smaller or bigger depending on the dumpling size you want). Put them into the broth. Keep the heat high. It may take twenty minutes for the dumplings to cook through. They will be moist no matter what. Do a taste test. That helps me to know. If you don’t have buttery biscuits then add a quarter of a stick of butter. Believe me, the butter does the trick! You need it ;).

  • Shepherd’s Pie ~ I use my friend Hannah’s version which she got and modified from our friend Rachel.

Ingredients~MIX: 1-2 lbs ground beef (1 lb always works for me) , a can of corn, a can of sweet peas, 1 can of tomato sauce (I use spaghetti sauce),  onion and garlic powder. Topping: 1 pkg instant mashed potatoes, butter.

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees, brown your beef, drain it, and mix with sauce, onion and garlic powder to your liking (I just sprinkle them a couple times), and corn and peas (you can add more to your liking). Fix mashed potatoes according to the package. Put mashed potatoes on top and then slice small flakes of butter all over it. Put in the oven for 20 minutes.

  • Spaghetti~ People usually think I make my own sauce but I cheat with this little trick I learned awhile back.

Ingredients: Spaghetti noodles and canned sauce of your choice. Add meat if you wish. Ours has been meatless for awhile which saves money.  Red wine, salt, basil, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, sugar, and on occasion  extra veggies (carrots and squash are easy to sneak in).

Directions: First put your sauce on a simmer for 30 minutes to a couple hours (just keep a good eye on it and stir often).  Add a spoonful of sugar (seriously it does the trick!), a couple dashes of red wine, and add herbs and veggies as liberally as you like. Boil your noodles as usual. I always add salt to speed up the boiling process.  Then mix together. Simple and just that little extra bit makes an awesome spaghetti :).

  • Vegetable Beef Soup~ This is a favorite of mine that I found in a country cook book. I made a few changes to make it my own.

Ingredients:  1 lb ground beef, 28 oz. can of stewed or diced tomatoes, 15 oz. can spaghetti sauce (I like the cheesy kind), several cans of veggies or frozen veggies (sometimes I use mixed veggies in a can), 2-3 cups of water, 1/2-1 tsp salt, 1/4-1/2 tsp pepper, liberal sprinkles of garlic and onion powder. I use whatever veggies I have but here are some suggestions: sweet peas, green beans, corn, potatoes, squash, broccoli (rare for us since Michael dislikes them and they cause massive gas!), carrots, and very rarely kidney beans (has that gas factor too!).

Directions: Boil the beef in salt water with garlic and onion, drain, and put back in a big pot. Add 2-3 cups of water. Mix all of your ingredients and bring to a boil. Then simmer for 30-40 minutes.

  • Turkey and Pumpkin Vegetable Soup~ This is my Fall version of the above soup. You follow the exact directions except you use ground turkey and pumpkin sauce (instead of tomato sauce). You can make pumpkin sauce by mixing pureed pumpkin with Italian seasonings and water. I couldn’t taste a difference but it was nice knowing I was eating pumpkin :).
  • Grits and Eggs ~Some of you may not be familiar with grits but in the south they are a major meal. They are great for breakfast but also supper. I use butter, salt, and pepper liberally with mine. They really go a long way. I scramble my eggs with milk, butter, salt, and pepper. This meal will fill you up. You can also add grits to fish and hush puppies.
  • Chicken and Rice~ This meal is super simple but can be very bland if done wrong. You will have to experiment on this one because I still get it wrong at times. I boil my chicken with lots of salt and pepper. Then I add it to cooked rice and I use salt, butter, and pepper liberally. You can add cream of chicken or celery to your rice to kick up the flavor. Use salt like it’s your BFF.
  • Pigs in a blanket ~ This is more of a Summer meal but it can work for game day. I throw in chips with cheesy spinach artichoke dip and it’s really filling.

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/patrick-henry-pigs-a-blanket-10000001875396/

http://www.food.com/recipe/spinach-artichoke-dip-1209#ixzz1tYe1zZsO

  • Cabbage & Beef Soup~  This is my go to soup during the fall. My best buddy Hannah loved it so much that she makes it now.  I rarely eat cabbage but I can eat it this way all day (except it does make you a bit gassy. Sorry, I’m warning you out of kindness 😉

http://www.food.com/recipe/cabbage-and-beef-soup-21886

  • Beans, Rice, & Macaroni and Cheese~ Okay, I grew up with a single Mom. Beans and rice gets you a long way. My favorite beans are field peas. You can add a new meat each day or go meatless. It will stretch. Add some bread or salad and you can really make it last. My favorites to eat with these are fried/baked chicken, fried/baked salmon patties, and though I don’t eat pork as much anymore, every now and then we will make fried/baked pork chops.

Fried/baked salmon patties~ Fry these in olive oil or bake them in the oven.

Ingredients: 1 package of salmon (boneless and drained) use 2 if you have a family of 4 or more, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, flour or Italian bread crumbs (you can even use potato chips in a pinch), and 1 egg (add one per package of salmon)

Directions: Mix all your ingredients together. I don’t need but a cup or two of flour/ Italian bread crumbs. I do a couple dashes of garlic powder etc…  scramble your eggs a bit before mixing. Drop your mixture by the spoonful in your frying pan or on a baking sheet.  Watch them because they don’t take long to brown. Make sure you flip them.

  • Chilli~ I don’t have a set Chilli recipe. I’m always experimenting. The Cabbage and Beef soup tastes a lot like chilli.  Anywho, add some cornbread and it’ll last you 2-3 days.
  • Chicken or Shrimp Alfredo~ I simply add Alfredo sauce to a good bit of noodles and then I add meat. I just boil my chicken in a ton of salt. I recently made shrimp with a shrimp scampi recipe (minus the noodles), during our Harry Potter date night. It was awesome and lasted a good while.

http://sweetandsavoryshenanigans.blogspot.com/2013/09/shrimp-scampi.html

  • Pancakes~ Breakfast for supper is an awesome treat.  Just add bacon and sausage. My favorite pancake recipe came from my Dad.

Dad’s Blue Ribbon Pancakes
by Jim Way
1962-2009
Ingredients:
2 Cups SR flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp honey

Directions:
Preheat griddle to 350 degrees
In large bowl, combine all ingredients
stir until mixed well
Beat for 30 seconds with wire whip
Use 3/4 cup batter for each allowing plenty of space for them
flip pancakes when bubbles cover the top and brown
Note: for extra-light, tender, and fluffy pancakes turn before bubbles break and turn 1 time only.
Serve with your favorite toppings.
If thinning of batter is necessary, use water

  • Super Cheesy Lasagna~  You can tone down the cheese if it’s too much for you.

Ingredients: 1 lb ground beef, onion and garlic powder, 1 29 oz can tomato sauce, 1 cup of water, One 6 oz can tomato paste, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp oregano, One 8 oz pkg uncooked lasagna noodles, 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 1/2 cup cottage cheese,          1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Directions:  In skillet brown beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat then drain. Add the tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, salt, and oregano. Mix well. Spread a forth of the meat sauce in an ungreased 5 qt slow cooker. Arrange a third of the noodles over sauce, break noodles. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining meat sauce. Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours or until noodles are tender.

Well, I hope you enjoy these recipes. Below our Guinea pig Snowball is playing cards with my husband, Chris.  All the critters here say good night to you! God bless & remember the High King lives!~Amber Dover

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