Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tuna Noodle Casserole

What’s cooking? Tuna Noodle Casserole!

Now I don’t want to hear any boos from anyone! At least try it and see what you think. If you still don‘t like it, change the tuna to a couple of sautéed chicken breasts, chunked. But at least try it with the tuna first.

This is a recipe my sister made for me many years ago that I fell in love with. I especially love that you can mix things up with all the vegetables according to your family’s tastes or needs. Very easy, adaptable, and wicked yummy!

First cook up your pasta. This recipe works well with wide noodles, elbow macaroni, rotini, or shells.

While your pasta is cooking, set your peas on to cook also, or broccoli if you choose. Either tastes wonderful in this dish.

While the pasta and vegetable are cooking, dice the celery and onion, and cube the Velveeta cheese.

Set the celery and onions to sauté in 1-2 Tbl. Butter.

Drain the pasta and the peas and set aside.

In a large saucepan, whisk together the cream of mushroom soup, milk, Velveeta cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

Mix in the pasta, peas, drained tuna, and, optional--sliced mushrooms. Pour all into a 15X11” baking dish.

Mix up the butter crumb topping by melting 3-4 Tbl. butter and adding 1 c. seasoned bread crumbs. Mix well with a fork, and sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.

Bake for 35 minutes at 350°, until browned and bubbly. Enjoy!

This also works well in the crockpot: Prepare and pour into crockpot on low for up to 4 hours.

Susan’s Tuna Casserole
     (serves 8 w/leftovers)

1 lb. pasta
1 lb. frozen green peas or broccoli
1 medium onion
2 stalks celery
1 lb. Velveeta cheese
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cans milk
2-3 cans tuna
1 c. sliced mushrooms (optional)

Monday, January 28, 2013


What’s cooking? Pizza!

I’m going to assume that not everyone knows how to make pizza, or how to make pizza dough. Whether you chose to make your own dough or to use store bought dough, creating your own gourmet pizzas to feed your family will give you a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.

Not to mention saving you money. Most gourmet pizzas from places like Bertucci’s, Ronzios, or other national pizza shops cost upwards of $15.99 or more. Believe me, with a little time and instruction, you can make these pizzas for way less, and have the satisfaction of nourishing your family and pleasing them beyond measure.

Using a bread machine to make pizza dough, or making it “by hand” doesn’t matter; either way gets the job done.

Here is a simple pizza dough recipe that works in the bread maker or by hand and instructions for making it half whole wheat, which my family has found to be very tasty.

Pizza Dough                                                         Half & Half Pizza Dough
(all white)

10 ½ oz. very warm water                                   12 oz. very warm water (1 ½ c.)
     (1 ¼ c. plus 1 Tbl.)                                         1  tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sugar                                                         2 ¼ tsp. yeast                                                          
2 ¼ tsp. yeast (or 1 packet)                                  1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. salt                                                            2 Tbl. Vegetable oil
¼ c. vegetable oil                                                 2 c. white flour
4 c. flour                                                              2 c. whole wheat flour

Put sugar into bowl and add the warm water. Add yeast, cover bowl with a cloth, and let sit about 5 minutes to activate yeast. Add salt, oil, and flour(s), mixing well with wooden spoon. Knead dough on floured surface for about 5 minutes. Grease bowl well. Place dough into bowl, then flip, so top is greased. Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes to an hour. I heat my electric oven up to 150° for about 10 minutes while I’m making the dough, then shut it off before I put it in to rise. When doubled in size, take the bowl out and punch the dough down. Knead again for about 5 minutes and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Cut in half and press into greased pans for your pizza. Both these recipes make enough for 2 full cookie sheets or large round pizza pans.

Now the real fun begins…what kind of sauce and toppings do you want? Even if you want a typical tomato-based sauce, there are many ways you can make it. You can use jarred pizza sauce or even spaghetti  sauce for days when time is at a premium, or create your own. We’ll talk about tomato-based sauce now, and other sauces and different cheeses another time.

Simply use tomato sauce, or tomato paste with water added to thin it out (2/3 c. water per 6 oz. can of paste).

For each small can add 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. dry basil, 1 tsp. dry oregano, ½ tsp. onion powder, ½ tsp. garlic powder (any or all of these spices, according to your taste).

You can also use drained diced tomatoes in place of “sauce,” or use crushed tomatoes, and add the above sugar and spices or leave it au natural. I actually love to have “chunk” to my sauce, whether it’s on spaghetti or pizza, so I prefer crushed or diced, but I have used all of these sauce recipes.

Some people also prefer to use fresh tomatoes, either diced small or even sliced and layered on the pizza. You can sprinkle some spices on top if you’d like, or just leave them alone. Or add freshly minced garlic, freshly picked basil, the sky’s the limit.

All of these choices for tomato-based sauces are tasty on pizza, but it all comes down to your particular tastes, and also what toppings you plan to put on your pizza. Most meats and vegetables pair well with them, but some of the spices may not. As I always say, don’t be afraid to fool around with the recipe and try things. You never know when you’ll come up with a new family favorite! ~TMMF

Monday, January 21, 2013

Easy Beef Stroganoff

This is a recipe I just threw together one day out of necessity; I needed something quick and easy for supper, and this was the result.

It soon turned into a family favorite. It pairs well with carrots or green beans.

Cook your pasta until just done. Drain.

While your pasta is cooking: in another large pot, make your beef gravy, stirring till thickened. If you don’t buy gravy mix in bulk, use 4 packets of gravy mix to make 4 cups worth.

Add the cream of mushroom soup and the sour cream, stirring well.

Add the cooked drained pasta,

browned hamburg,

and mushrooms,

mixing well. Enjoy!

*Notes: This recipe works well in the crock pot. Cook the pasta until right before done, though.  Follow the rest of the recipe, except add 1/2 c. extra water to gravy, and do not add the sour cream until about 5-10 minutes before serving.

Having browned hamburg in the freezer, portioned out into 1 lb. bags, is one factor that makes this recipe so quick and easy.

Easy Beef Stroganoff

1 lb. pasta
1 lb. browned hamburg
2 cans mushrooms, drained
4 c. water
1 c. brown gravy mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 c. sour cream

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Corn Chowder

This is a recipe my Mom gave me, which I've tweaked just slightly.J Let’s get cooking!

For this hearty corn chowder, you can cut up your bacon first, or cut it after cooking. I find it easier to cut afterwards. In your stockpot or large soup pot, cook the bacon until it’s slightly crispy.

Set aside the bacon, and drain off all the fat but about 3 tablespoons.

You can save the leftover bacon fat in the refrigerator or freezer for other recipes.

While the bacon is cooking, set your frozen kernel corn on to cook with enough water to cover, and dice your onions.   

Sauté the onions in the bacon fat until tender and translucent.
Meanwhile, cube the potatoes and rinse well. When the onions are ready, add the cubed potatoes and enough water to cover about two inches over. Cook till tender. 

Add the creamed corn and the cooked kernel corn, stirring well, and heat until just before boiling. 

Pour in the evaporated milk, add the bacon, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until thoroughly heated. I finished it and transferred it to the crock pot, keeping it on low for a few hours.

My mom likes to add about ½ cup or so potato flakes (instant) to thicken it. Mine seems to thicken slightly without them, but I use Russett potatoes, which are more mealy.

Corn chowder is wonderful with cornbread, but any rolls would have gone well with this tasty dish. Enjoy! J ~TMMF

Mom’s Corn Chowder
(serves 6-8)
4-6 strips bacon
1 lg. onion
4-5 Russett potatoes
1 15oz. can creamed corn
1 lb. frozen corn
    (or 1 15oz. Can)
2 cans evaporated milk


1 ¼ c flour
¾ c cornmeal
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
3-4 Tbl sugar
¼ c vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
1 c milk

Mix together dry ingredients. Add oil, egg, and milk. Blend well with wire whisk. Pour into greased 7X9” baking pan. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350°. Cut into 12 pieces.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I am the Magic Meal Fairy. Valerie finally caught me and put me  in a jar. Now, as her captive, I will be working for her, creating and cooking sumptuous dishes to share with you.

Of course, there will be recipes I've created myself, some I've discovered and tried, recipes from friends, recipes handed down through the family line, and maybe some guest cooks on here.

There will also be some tips and advice to share, and anything that relates to cooking, baking, and feeding our family and friends, from saving time to saving money.

I hope you will enjoy your time here and find something to help and inspire you in your journey of nourishing your loved ones. ~TMMF~