Let's Eat: Meals and Recipes

Food, Glorious Food

Last time I posted a week’s worth of easy, family-friendly recipes, the post was so popular you’d have thought I had pictures of a shirtless Brad Pitt on here.

So again, I have several meals that we would eat in the course of a week. The idea is to use Sunday afternoon to plan out what you’re going to eat each night, and make one big shopping run that day. If you’re really on the ball, you can make Sunday and Monday’s meal on Sunday, or do some prep work for other meals, and you’ll really feel good about yourself if you’re an anal-retentive gourmet like me.

(Full disclosure: I generally do have to run back to the store for more milk and fruit in the middle of the week, but at least I’m not killing myself thinking up something to feed everyone.)

I have four new recipes this week, or you can look at the recipes from last time and see if anything looks good.

1. Oven Fried Catfish

I haven’t posted any seafood recipes yet, and we eat a lot of seafood. My guys love this, and it’s simple to make, although you should take off your jewelry before you dip the fish so your rings don’t get gooey. If your children are weird about fish (one of mine was for a while) you can call this “chicken that swims.”

1 cup buttermilk
4 (6-ounce) catfish fillets (I use 5)
2 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (I use Zatarain’s, found in the spice section)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups cornflakes cereal, crushed (Cuisinart)
Vegetable cooking spray

Place buttermilk in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag;
add catfish, turning to coat. Seal and chill 20
minutes, turning once.

catfish fillets from buttermilk, discarding buttermilk. Sprinkle
catfish fillets evenly with 2 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
and 1/2 teaspoon salt. (I sprinkle mine much more liberally with salt and Creole seasoning because we like spicy!)

Place 3 cups crushed cornflakes in a shallow dish. Dredge catfish fillets in cornflakes, pressing cornflakes gently onto each fillet. Place fillets on a rack coated with cooking spray in a roasting pan.

Bake catfish fillets at 425° for 30 to 35 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.

No kidding, it tastes like chicken! Serve with a salad or some broccoli sauteed with garlic and potatoes au gratin out of a box. Score!!

2.Chicken Fricassee with Orzo

Everyone loves this. The dish might even be healthy if you stick to the amounts listed because I think I got this from Cooking Light years ago. Of course, the sauce is better if you add a touch more cream and melt a little butter in it before serving, and don’t skimp on the salt and pepper! I always forget the parsley and no one has died yet. (If you like to brine your meat before cooking, this is a great recipe to do it with.)

(4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breast halves

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons butter or stick margarine
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced ham
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup Chardonnay or other dry white wine
1/3 cup whipping cream
3 cups hot cooked orzo (about 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice-shaped pasta)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan.

Add onions, carrot, ham, and garlic to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in broth and wine, scraping to loosen browned bits. Return chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan with a slotted spoon; keep warm. Add whipping cream; cook, uncovered, over medium heat 8 minutes. Spoon 3/4 cup orzo onto each of 4 plates. Top each with 1 chicken breast half, 1/3 cup sauce, and 1 tablespoon parsley.

(I generally cut the breasts into strips on the diagonal before setting them on the orzo, and 3 big breasts will usually feed our famished family of five.)

3. Fettuccine With Roasted Red Bell Peppers and Bacon

I haven’t worked on this recipe project long, but I’ve discovered that our family eats the equivalent of a whole pig approximately every two weeks. I looked into buying a couple of hogs as a cost-saving measure, but all I found on eBay were a bunch of Harleys. Too bad, because with milk at over $4 a gallon and the grass in our yard sadly unmown, a dairy cow and some pigs would be nice additions to Bingo 3 (thriving, surprisingly), Texas Ranger (still won’t perch on Drew’s shoulder while he reads Harry Potter) and Elvis (still From Hell).


Here piggy! Nice yard for YOU!


I’m Texas Ranger. Don’t screw with me.


I am evil spawn of Satan, in disconcertingly precious furry package.

The fettucini recipe will be yet another setback for kosher readers, unless turkey bacon is acceptable. This would also be good with prosciutto or pancetta instead of the bacon, not as a kosher alternative, but as good eating.

Actually, this recipe proves the point that you can mix bacon and pasta with just about anything and call it dinner. This dish is nothing more than Bowties with Peas and Prosciutto in a tuxedo.

1 bottle roasted red peppers, drained (located by the olives)
2 slices of bacon, chopped (kidding! we use 5)
1 sliced onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup chicken broth
8 oz of cooked fettucini
2 T grated Paremesan
salt & pepper

Cut the peppers into strips. Cook the bacon in a big skillet until crisp. (Okay– I do drain all but a little of the grease here– I have limits). Add onion and garlic and saute a minute. Add peppers, peas and broth and simmer a minute. Stir in pasta, cheese, salt and pepper. I add a little bit more of everything and use almost 16 oz of pasta for our family. You’re gonna want more Parmesan!

4. Jack-O’-Lantern Pie

I am not proud of this recipe
at ALL from a culinary standpoint. But when it’s October, the Voice of Reason and I haul out this
little gem to prove we aren’t complete grinches. I cook it solely for the boys to make up for the fact that I didn’t sit on the floor and play Candyland with them nearly enough when they were small. This isn’t the type of dish you make to impress your husband; this is something you make to cure mommy-guilt. When dinner’s over, you eat the leftover Chicken Fricassee from yesterday for your dinner.

I included all the decorating instructions about the egg whites and sticking the cheese in the eye holes and so forth, but unless your kids are really charged up about helping you, the pie crust is going to be orange-ish anyway, so I forget the part about the egg, and I just throw the cheese on top of the meat before I put the top crust on.

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (I use tons more)
1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts
1 tablespoon prepared mustard (I take this to mean French’s)
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided (Any ole cheese will do)
2 tablespoons water
1 large egg
Red and yellow liquid food coloring

Cook first 5 ingredients in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until beef crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Stir in ketchup and Worcestershire sauce; cool.

Unfold 1 piecrust, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Spread mustard evenly over crust. (Leave a 2 inch border) Stir together meat mixture and 2 cups cheese; spoon onto center of crust, leaving a 2-inch border.

Unfold remaining piecrust, and cut out a jack-o’-lantern face, reserving pastry cutouts to use as a stem. Place crust over meat mixture; crimp edges of crust, and fold under. Place stem on top of jack-o’-lantern face.

Whisk together 2 tablespoons water, egg, and 1 drop each of red and yellow food coloring; brush over crust if you have time for this step.

Bake at 425° for 20 minutes; remove from oven, and serve, (OR and brush again with egg mixture. Fill eyes, nose, and mouth with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake 5 to 10 more minutes or until golden brown.)


Jack O’ Lantern Pie ready to bake


Jack O’ Lantern Pie developed blemishes while in oven.

And for dessert? Cheesecake!

brad-pitt-interview-magazine-14resize brad

I’m posting this as part of Works For Me Wednesday over at Rocks in my Dryer. Go check out the other great tips there!

Two years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Stinkers


  • Ann Kroeker

    Okay, I’m totally drooling…

    …over the Fettucini With Roasted Red Bell Peppers and Bacon (I like the prosciutto substitution–in fact, I just referred to prosciutto in my own WFMW post!)

    I’ve never been much of a Brad Pitt fan.

    Of course, if you’d posted a shirtless Sting…

  • Shawn

    I find that I like to cook a lot of Italian dishes if I have to cook these days. Who doesn’t love pasta?
    And since I love all things Halloween, the Jack O’ Lantern pie is so cute! But nothing I will ever find the time to make. Sad, but true.

  • emily

    I love your pets’ photo captions. And, as a girl from Creole country, I must recommend Tony Chachere’s seasoning blend for your catfish. It’s all we use around here. Thanks for the recipes!

  • Heather

    Perhaps the pumpkin could try some Proactive? Jessica Simpson swears by it.

    Did you catch him in the cheesecakey Parade magazine in the paper Sunday? He reminds now more of marshmallow cream….light, fluffy, possibly full of air? I dunno…it was odd.

    Great sounding recipes! I take this post as hope that my boys WILL outgrow the phase where any new food I introduce is immediately thrown down or drowned in ketchup.

  • Jamie (Blonde Mom Blog)

    You know, I thought we were the only people who called our dog the evil spawn of Satan. 😉

    I will be back to peruse these fabulous recipes. (And BRAD! Shirtless! You rock!)

    Hey, I posted a mac & cheese recipe last week. Something about fall makes me want to cook.

  • jenny uk

    keep chickens if you can bear the process of garden to plate! You can eat them by the time they are 8 weeks old and if you keep them you can have free eggs too! We have 3 chickens that we’ve had since they were a week old, we think one is a boy, (hard to tell till they are older) and the girls should start laying in the next few weeks!

  • mom2fur

    Awwww, your doggie is cute! I’ve had parakeets that might have been the spawn of Satan, though…
    Try Target for milk. At least around here, they tend to be about a dollar and change cheaper than anyplace else.
    And…I love making up a weekly menu! It really does make life easier when you know what you are having for dinner. I don’t shop on Sunday, though. Even though the sales start on Friday, Sunday at the grocery store is nutso. I plan on Sunday, but shop on Monday.
    Your Jack-O-Lantern pie is a riot!

  • mrsmogul

    You know I have NEVER cooked fish fresh in the oven? we just buy breaded fish sticks! I know CRAZY!! Maybe I should try this year? Like get some creole seasoning and see what happens.

  • Karin

    Thank you for the new recipes, my son was getting tired of pasta (just kidding). Our favorite has been that lo mein recipe you gave last time. Do you buy fresh or frozen catfish? I make fish meals often but never tried catfish. What a funny and cute post!

  • K

    can’t wait to try the baked catfish. That’s beefcake, although Brad is more of a cheesecake now, or even a petit-fors. I’m still mad at him for leaving Jen for Angie. You like chicken fajitas? There’s a great recipe on the back of Old El Paso Fajitas bag.

  • Susu

    Costco is the place for milk. While you’re in there you can pick up a couple of rotisserie chickens for the week – shredded in tortillas, chopped over salad or baked potatoes, stir fry, etc. I also like to pick up one of their
    giant pizzas, but I have to cut off about 1/4 to fit it in my new Kitchen Aid gas oven. I usually pick up one of their Spinach Salads to eat with the pizza. Supper and lunch for the next day for less than $15.00.

  • Kathy

    I am laughing again…we, too, eat the equivalent of an entire pig weekly! Especially with the smoker. (Does every Alabama family own a smoker or does it just appear that way?) After eating a few Boston butts, I was convinced. Bought us one and learned to use it properly. Now, I think we could sell the things at local fund raisers! LOL

  • Mamaluv

    I arrived here late in the game I see, and everyone else has already commented on the yummy recipes, assorted barnyard animals, and Brad…

    … excuse me, just had a moment there with flashbacks ….

    So all there is left to say is that you have a beautiful lawn, uncut or not. Your memorable post about watering using your bathtub leftovers is obviously a distant memory! Send some o’ that wet stuff eastward please – the fatcat golf courses are making our wells run dry. 🙁

    Also, I am totally going to make the Jack o’ Lantern pie! I have made bright pink pancakes for Valentine’s Day and candy cane-colored baking for Christmas too. Whatever makes ’em eat, I’d say. It can’t be any worse than Kraft Dinner.

  • Cassie

    I am so starving right now, and you’ve added to it. Gonna me Jack O Lantern pie this weekend for Boo. And the pasta for me. Yum!

  • Candy

    Reporting back.

    The Chicken Fricasse!! Well shit! It was DA BOMB! Everyone wanted seconds, which means of course I didn’t make enough, because no one ever wants seconds. Thanks!!!