Dinner in a pinch!

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Flabread Pizza with Spinach, Caramelized Onions and Feta

Week.night.dinner. Did you just roll your eyes and sigh? Me too. As much as I love to cook, I don’t enjoy cooking on weeknights. By the time you get home, the thought of making dinner is a bit overwhelming. Add traffic, a stop at the grocery store and other errands, and the dinner clock is ticking at half-past-where’s-dinner. The Greek chorus is crooning, “we’re hungry, feed us NOW!” The sun is setting and I am longingly looking at my knitting. Sigh. I often call on my standard, uninspiring failsafe meals like pasta, sauce and sausages. My kids know it’s Monday when I make this dinner. Quick and simple. Last night I had to stop at the grocery store for dinner makings. It had been a gloriously sunny day and making dinner was not on my mind until my lunchtime walk. Luckily I remembered this wonderful recipe. It needs only a few ingredients that you may have already. I grabbed all of them in a few minutes and headed home. It’s delicious. You can use a combination of any cheese that you have around the house; it doesn’t have to be feta cheese. The boys aren’t fans of caramelized onions or feta, so they went without the onions and I used a blend of cheese. Still delicious. If you have any leftover cooked vegetables, you could toss these on before you add the cheese. Use your imagination. Just remember one thing, keep it simple. Sometimes simple is delicious.

Naan or other flat bread

Alfredo sauce

Fresh baby spinach leaves

Cooked chicken

Caramelized onions

Feta cheese, or other cheese of choice

I usually make one flatbread pizza for each person. I buy them 2 to a package at my grocery store. I try to keep a few in the freezer for emergencies. I buy the Alfredo sauce. If you don’t have leftover chicken, a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is perfect for this. Caramelized onions take about a half hour to cook. I start these right away when I get home. Once they are on the stove, I look at the mail, check my email and glance at the news. When the onions are almost done, I start to assemble the flatbread pizzas. No fancy pans or machines needed. Easy cleanup too! You can use as much or as little of each ingredient. It’s up to you!

Layer the above ingredients on the flatbread and cook in a 400-degree oven for about 10 minutes. Shall I repeat this? Just a word to the wise, the feta cheese doesn’t melt. The combination of cheese that I use does melt, so I put that on and then the feta. Since everything is cooked, you are really waiting for the cheese to melt and the spinach to wilt. This is a perfect meal for one or however many people you have to feed. I am using the leftover spinach, chicken, and cheese with some hardboiled eggs for my work dinner salad tonight. Nothing’s wasted here!

Here’s my Ina moment, “How easy is that?”

Credit to Our Best Bites for the original recipe!

Heart Attack on a Plate

 

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                 Mac and Cheese – Michael Style

 

College boy is home and is getting all of his favorite meals. Tonight I made mac and cheese with turkey sausage, or as he calls it “heart attack on a plate”. I’m not going all Paula Deen on you, but every now and then, a little butter, cheese and pasta is okay. I cook the turkey sausage as I prep the meal. I simmer it in a little water, lid on, for about 20 minutes. I take the lid off and let the water evaporate. As it evaporates, the sausage browns. I lower the heat to medium/low to brown the sausage Remember to turn the sausage to brown all sides. Don’t walk away because the sausage can burn pretty quickly. The browning gives it a wonderful flavor. Drain it on a paper towel and then slice.

 

1 lb. elbow macaroni – I used the large elbow macaroni

4 cups of milk

1 stick of butter – divided

½ cup flour

2 cups sharp cheese – shredded

2 cups italian style 6 cheese blend (packaged)

8 oz. goat cheese

½ tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. nutmeg

½ cup of seasoned bread crumbs

1 lb. turkey sausage, cooked and sliced

 

Heat over to 350 degrees.

Cook elbow macaroni according to directions, about 7 minutes.
To make the white sauce, you need to heat the milk. You can heat it in a saucepan, or carefully microwave it until it is very warm. Do not let it boil.

 

In the pan, you cooked the elbow macaroni; heat 6 tablespoons of butter on a medium heat, leaving the remaining 2 tablespoons for the topping. Whisk the flour into the melted butter and cook for one minute. Whisk in the heated milk. Continue to whisk until this mixture starts to thicken and becomes smooth. Turn off the heat and add the cheeses, salt, pepper and nutmeg. You can use whatever cheeses you like in this. I often use mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Fontina and Gruyere are very creamy. Goat cheese adds a wonderful tang. So many come packaged that you have many options. I like using several mixtures of cheese. Don’t use more than 6 cups. I prefer 5 cups of cheese. Whisk the cheese until it is melted. Pour in the cooked and drained macaroni and stir until it’s all coated. Add the cut up cooked sausage. Pour into, at least, a 3-quart baking dish. You may want to use a large one. I also cook it with a cookie sheet underneath, in case it bubbles over.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and then add the breadcrumbs. You can use a little more or a little less. You want a nice crumb topping to sprinkle over the macaroni.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until it’s bubbly and the macaroni is slightly browned.