Tag Archives: Cooking

Quick, Easy Grilled Veggies and Sausages

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a dinner recipe. Summer got me off track and now I’m in warp speed with school activities and soccer practices. It’s hard to get motivated to cook a meal that requires sautéing or the use of multiple pots and dishes when your after-meal activities involve baths, homework and bedtime book reading—all within an hours time. After my boys go to bed, I’m desperate for 30 minutes to myself—not an hour of clean-up in the kitchen.

Last night I was faced with the reality of putting together a healthy meal in about 20 minutes. Two nights a week, my oldest has soccer practice and by the time we all return, my three-year-old will instantly start climbing the pantry, trying to grab any snacks he can reach. Yesterday I had planned to bake a chicken and accompany it with grilled veggies, but the evening got away from us and by the time we got back home, I didn’t have the time to bake a whole chicken—but why not the grilled veggies? And, since I had pre-cooked chicken sausages from Trader Joes in the fridge, I realized I could put together a complete meal in one pan, with little clean up. If you’re a fan of Jamie Oliver, (the naked chef), like I am—this meal is very similar to his side dishes for winter roasts. So who says you can’t make side dishes the main attraction? And, you know what? My boys ate it up! Even the brussel sprouts. There’s something about roasted garlic and onions with a touch of salt that makes everything yummy. I hope you enjoy this last-minute creation as much as we did!

Ingredients:

2 sweet (Maui or Vidalia) onions, cut into wedges

1 pack of 6 pre-cooked sun-dried tomato chicken sausages, cut into 1 inch slices

6 cloves of garlic, sliced.

1 pack of cut brussel sprouts

1 small bag of fingerling Russian potatoes or variety pack of gold and purple potatoes, cut in half

Marcona almonds with rosemary (This is optional, but add them, or other nuts, afterwards before serving for a bit of a crunch)

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive Oil

Instructions:

– Preheat oven to 410 degrees Ferenheit

– In one grilling pan, add brussel sprouts, onions, garlic, potatoes and sliced sausages

– Coat with olive oil

– Add sea salt and pepper to taste

– With clean hands, toss and coat well

Cook for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are brown

– Cool for 5 minutes

– Add a handfull of marcona almonds for extra crunch

– Serve in bowls and enjoy!

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A Mom’s Legacy: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Photo by: Barb Hale

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

From the Kitchen of MaryAnn Roe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2  tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3 cups cut rhubarb
  • 1 pie crust mix
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Courtesy of: PublicPhoto.org

Directions:

Combine sugar, tapioca, salt, nutmeg, orange juice and rhubarb. Place in 9 inch pie pan, lined with pastry. Top with strawberries/rhubarb mix and dot with butter. Cover with remaining pastry (pie crust).

Photo courtesy of Coconut Recipes

“I prefer rolling pastry, cutting stripes and making a lattice top.  If you cover fruit completely with pastry, make air vents,” wrote my mother on her recipe card. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.

This is my absolute favorite summer dessert that my mom used to make. There’s something wonderful about the sour mixed with the sweetness. ENJOY!!!

A Mom’s Legacy: Squash Casserole

Mother’s Day is less than two weeks away. It’s a bittersweet time of year for me as my mother is riddled with Alzheimer’s Disease and living in a facility more than 2,500 miles away. I miss her terribly. And, I haven’t seen her in over a year. It requires buying a ticket, hiring a nanny for the boys and renting a car. Even if I do  manage all of that, I know that she won’t remember our visit and may not remember me as well. I know I’m being selfish, but I just want to talk with her about so many things. I don’t speak (or write) about my mother very much, so it’s always amazing when someone reaches out in a touching way. Out of the blue, a month ago, my former mother-in-law sent me my mother’s summer squash casserole recipe. She taped the original card, in my mom’s hand-writing, onto a page of paper with the note: “Remember this? Our trip to Ennis? This is SO Speical! SO good!”

It was beyond thoughtful of Barbara to think of me. I haven’t seen my mother’s handwriting in years. Holding the card I felt tears spring to my eyes. We had taken a trip to Montana together in 2002 with her husband, Bill, and all of his children. My mother, who began showing the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s during this trip, made this dish one evening, then gave the recipe to Barbara. My mom now can’t write, nor can she cook. Sending me this recipe reminded me of the wonderful vacation we had together. It reminded me of how precious our time was then, and how I couldn’t have imagined how precarious life would soon be for both my mother and my father-in-law, who died three years later. It was such a wonderful holiday in the wide open spaces of Montana. My mother laughed as we all sat around the table in our cabin and she talked about her grandparents and her father, who grew up in Montana. We took hikes together, drinking in the vistas of the mountains with September snow on the tops and the enormous Sandhill Cranes dotting the fields nearby. She helped me with my son, who was then one. I’ve placed this recipe in my homemade binder that will someday be a cookbook for my kids. It’s filled with hand-written recipes that represent lots of love and good times. In today’s digital world, I find it amazingly special to have a book filled with hand-written recipes and notes. I may be nostalgic, I admit. And, it’s highly likely that not both of my boys will appreciate it—but putting it together helps me think about the good times together, rather than the times we can no longer have. It’s also a way to leave a legacy or traditions behind. So this year, I’ll present one snapshot of a mom’s legacy each day until Mother’s Day.

I hope you enjoy this simple recipe. (But aren’t the best things in life usually simple?) It’s even better with home-grown, summer squash from the garden!

Summer Squash Casserole
From the Kitchen of Mary Ann Roe

Ingredients:

  • 8 to 10 young green zucchini and yellow squash
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1 cup chopped chedar cheese
  • Bag of seasoned breadcrumbs

Directions:

Slice squash into 1/4 inch pieces. Dice the onion. Saute onion in a small amount of light cooking oil or olive oil until soft. Add yellow squash and saute until soft, then add zucchini and saute briefly. Turn heat off and add half the cheese and toss with the hot squash. Place in a baking dish or a 9 x 12″ pan and top with remaining cheese and bread crumbs. Bake in pre-heated oven of 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

25 Reasons to LOVE Being a Single Mom

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Yes, you read that title correctly! There are reasons to LOVE being a single mom. The consensus is in. Single mothers across the country have been polled about what they like about parenting solo. Sure, we all know that it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world. But, lets focus on the positive, shall we? And, while we’re at it, lets have a laugh. Life’s too short and getting too serious these days. Sure, most of us didn’t choose this path, but while we’re on it, let’s acknowledge the perks. (And did I say have a laugh too??) Enjoy ladies (and brave men) and just note these thoughts represent the contributions of MANY women out there, but I’d love to hear from you, too! … Especially if you can make me chuckle.

TOP REASONS:

  1. It’s now My house, my rules. Rough day? Waffles for dinner is just fine. Exhausted? The dishes, laundry and toys can pile up for one night.
  2. No more scary stubble in the sink.
  3. No more sticky, smelly, sweaty gym clothes to be picked up off the bathroom floor. (Unless, of course, they’re yours!)
  4. No more manic 5 p.m. de-motherfying. Don’t know what that is? A rush to shower, shave, change out of sweats and “de-motherfy” yourself every evening before a discerning man comes home—who ironically only notices when you don’t do all of the said above.
  5. No need to hold in that belly 24/7!
  6. There is no one in the house to make you feel like an incompetent person.
    (It’s funny how many women commented that their husbands criticized them for not being capable or put them down for being a SAHM—yet parenting alone, they have never felt more accomplished.)
  7. It sinks in you ARE a super woman. After a year or so parenting solo, it sinks in that we are capable. We take out the trash, fix heaters and toilets, paint, move furniture, weld power tools, get the car washed: ALL ON OUR OWN. We manage budgets (even small ones), kids’ schedules, education and our own career and health needs. Phew!)
  8. You get to watch what you want on TV. No more wrestling or mafia movies! (Well, unless you turn on that mafia movie starring your favorite sexy Italian actor.)
  9. There’s no one to scold you for letting the kids come into the family bed. (And it’s oh, so yummy when you all fall asleep together after watching a silly movie!)
  10. You can sing and dance and be goofy with an audience that joins in!
  11. You are more present with your kids and more focussed on their needs without the stress of constant criticism and arguments. (For some, this happened after the divorce became final and the fighting finally ceased.)
  12. You can get a cat, fish, a parakeet, a chinchilla—or any other creature you can manage to take care of, as your kids need more unconditional love in the house. (And who is going to stop you?)
  13. You can take a bubble bath, wear a mask and do your nails at 8:30 p.m. on a weekday after the kids are in bed. Why? Because you are no longer a short-order cook for the late arrival, or a career coach and therapist, or evening maid required to do laundry and clean the kitchen while said late arrival watches sports or a crime drama on TV.
  14. You no longer have to pretend to be asleep when you hear the door open at midnight. (This is usually from hubby coming home after an unscheduled, but “critical” business drinks meet-up. Of course, you learned about this event at 6 p.m. with spit-up on your shoulder, an older child screaming in the corner and dinner on the stove.)
  15. No more ‘couples with kids’ dinners to endure.
    (Come on, you know exactly what this is. Some friends with kids your age invite you to a family-friendly restaurant for Saturday early dinner or Sunday brunch. You dress up and go through the effort to get the kids looking marvelous—only to find yourself, yet again, having a frustrating, work-filled evening. You and the other mom try to catch up, but keep getting interrupted since you two are managing all the kids’ tantrums and antics and diaper changes during dinner. Where are the fathers? The two hubbies are at the other end of the table drinking brews and having a civilized adult conversation with no interruptions. Your late husband had NO idea why you weren’t interested in sex AT ALL later in the evening.)
  16. No more waiting for a blue moon to go out on a date.
  17. You no longer live with the fear of being cheated on.
  18. You no longer live with someone who churns an internal daily struggle for you to preserve your identity. (The constant pressure to change or view the world differently has lifted.)
  19. You no longer live with a man who treats his mother (who never liked you) and his buddies better than he treats you.
  20. You are allowed to buy chocolate at will.
  21. Alcohol is no longer an every day facet of your family life. (In fact, some moms reported throwing out the liquor cabinets and beer coolers after their exes left.)
  22. There is no one home to poke fun at you when you want to meditate, do a yoga dvd, write in a journal or read self-help or philosophy books.
  23. No more staying awake listening to snoring.
  24. No more smelling alcohol on the breath of the person sleeping next to you.
  25. You no longer have to justify what you buy. If you can afford to splurge on a toy for the kids, or a new pair of shoes for yourself: you can do so without having to render a tail-between-the-legs explanation later.