Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Semi-Homemade Dinner Date

Why no, I didn't fall off the face of the earth! We put our house on the market about 2 weeks ago, accepted an offer after the open house, and are now busily house-hunting. Frankly, worrying about getting my kids to try new things has fallen to the bottom of my to-do list... bad mommy!

I came back from an afternoon of house-hunting last week and had to prep for dinner date. Good thing I had decided to do a little Semi-Homemade Theme! I used to love to watch Sandra Lee and her table-scapes, but never made much of what she did. I felt like every dessert involved a store-bought pound cake or angel food cake. For my semi-homemade, I hit up Trader Joe's for some mixes that I like to keep in the house, and worked from there. This dinner date certainly came together a lot faster than I'm used to!

Polenta Griddlecakes

1 package prepared polenta (it comes in a tube)
ground cumin
ground coriander
Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper

This could not be easier, but the mommies loved it. Once Abby got past the initial texture shock (my bad... I told her it was a cracker) she loved it, too!

Preheat a griddle pan or an indoor electric grill. Slice polenta into rounds. Sprinkle each round with spices and cheese to taste. Grill for about 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Zesty Mac and Cheese Casserole

2 packages macaroni and cheese, prepared according to package directions
1 lb ground beef
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
10-16 oz package of frozen veggie (I used broccoli spears, which the kids completely avoided)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare the mac and cheese. Set aside in a big bowl.

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. When cooked through, drain out the fat and add the spices. Cook for one minute more, coating the beef. Add the beef to the mac and cheese. Add the veggies. Stir all together.

Divide between two 1-qt casserole dishes (and freeze one for later!). Sprinkle cheese all over the top. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and everything is heated through.

Lemon Cake on Brownie Crust

The brownie crust eliminates any need for frosting...

1 package of brownie mix, mixed according to package directions
1 package of vanilla cake mix, mixed according to package directions
zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to the temp called for on your cake mix box. Generously grease two 9-inch cake pans.

Divide the brownie batter between the two pans. Stir the lemon zest into the cake batter. Divide the cake batter between the two pans, carefully spreading it over the brownie batter.

Cook for the lowest time in the cake mix's time range; if a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, the cake is done.


MaryAnne said...

Everything looks delicious, and very easy. I like quick and easy-to-prep dinner ideas like this for hectic days.

Congrats on selling your house, hope you find a new one you like soon!

LaDue & Crew said...

Wow, all of these sound great! I'm always looking for something new to do with polenta.

I am so excited that you actually sold your home so quickly! The housing/ real estate market out here in Phoenix is an absolute fiasco. So I am happy things are well someplace!